CFIA Bargaining: PSAC declares impasse as management once again refuses to address members’ concerns

PSAC’s bargaining team representing members at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) held a sixth bargaining session for a new collective agreement on August 7 and 8. 

Despite months of talks, Agency management continued ignoring key demands from PSAC members. It also kept insisting on a slew of previously-tabled concessions that our union bargaining team deemed unacceptable and rejected in June. These include regressive changes to hours of work, the definition of the work week and notice time for shift changes, among others.

Moreover, CFIA representatives responded to our wage proposal—which called for increases of 3.75% per year for 2019-2021—with an offer of 2%, 2%, 1.5% and 1.5% for the 2019-2022 period. These proposed wage increases are unacceptable. Given Canada’s strong economy and relatively low unemployment rate, PSAC members deserve better.

Furthermore, management still did not address our market adjustment proposal for positions that are paid less than similar comparator positions in the core public administration and separate agencies. All this, even though PSAC’s bargaining team presented our wage and market adjustment proposal back in June.

As a result of CFIA’s intransigence—its unwillingness to address our proposals, delaying presentation of counteroffers, and insisting on concessions—PSAC declared bargaining impasse. In accordance with the law, we will be filing for a Public Interest Commission (PIC) shortly.

What is a Public Interest Commission (PIC)?

By law, once impasse is reached, a PIC is established to help the parties reach an agreement. The PIC is a panel of three people – a chairperson appointed by the Labour Board and nominees appointed by the union and management. The union and the employer submit briefs and explain their positions on the outstanding issues at a hearing with the PIC. The PIC then issues a report with recommendations for settlement. The recommendations are not binding.

Once the PIC releases its report, PSAC bargaining teams will reconvene to discuss the recommendations. Typically, PSAC’s teams and government representatives then return to the table to resume negotiations.

Will we strike?

Regardless of which party forms government after the fall federal election, PSAC will continue pressing for a fair deal that addresses members’ demands. However, if PSAC and the government are still unable to reach an agreement after the PIC reports are issued, members will have the opportunity to take a strike vote. 

History has taught us that the best way to avoid strikes is to prepare for one. Therefore, PSAC will ensure that strike training is offered to members in the coming months.

PSAC will also provide updates on the PIC process and other bargaining developments as appropriate.

Keep your contact information up to date

Please stay in touch with the local at your workplace and, if you haven’t done so yet, sign-up for e-mail bargaining updates here.  

PSAC at CFIA : Bargaining for our future!  

Atlantic: Jan Pennington
Québec: Audrey St-Germain
National Capital Region: Marlene O’Neil
Ontario: Robert MacDonald
Manitoba: Andrew Neufeld
Saskatchewan: Karen Zoller
Alberta: Dorothy McRae
British Columbia: Terri Lee

Negotiator: Hassan Husseini
Research Officer: Silja Freitag



August 12, 2019